WILD Wes Featured in Permaculture Newsletter

Katie McConnell '13 and the student group WILD Wes received a $50,000 grant from the University’s Green Fund to transform a 2/3 acre plot on campus into a sustainable landscape. Planting will begin this fall.

An article by Katie McConnell ’13 and Emma Leonard ’13 was featured in a recent Permaculture Institute of the Northeast newsletter. McConnell and Leonard are members of the new student group WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design). They’ve been vying for permacultural principles to be adopted into the University’s landscaping practices.

In the past year, the group hosted its first annual Sustainable Landscaping Design Charrette, where Wesleyan faculty, administrative members, permaculturists, landscaping experts, and students from Wesleyan and nearby Northeastern colleges converged.

In the newsletter, McConnell and Leonard explain how at the conference, groups collaborated to develop permacultural and sustainable landscape designs for over a half dozen sites on the Wesleyan campus. Additionally, during the 2011 spring semester, a weekly student led class, “Sustainable Landscape Design Studio,” offered a multidisciplinary curriculum that both educated students in sustainable land use principles and developed technical drafting skills. Students produced designs for multiple sites around campus, with the guiding expertise of professional landscape designers and permaculturalists.

“This summer, after a year of researching, planning, and consulting, we are finally beginning the physical implementation of our first designs. After discussions with the University’s Grounds Management, we have been granted custodial responsibility of a 2/3 acre plot centrally located on campus. In addition, we have been granted $50,000 from the University’s Green Fund to carry out the project. Between May and August we will be constructing swales, sheet mulching, and cover cropping the entire area, with the intent to begin planting this coming fall and spring,” they write.

The “Sustainable Landscape Design Studio” will be offered again during both semesters of the 2011/2012 academic year. It will be used as a forum to develop a concrete implementation plan for WILD Wes’s current site, and to create novel designs for more sites on campus.

“We hope to be simultaneously designing and implementing new sites for many years into the future,” McConnell says.

Wild WES is spearheaded by Miles Bukiet ’11 and Sam Silver ’11.